This is a historic year for Made in America Festival.
2021 marks the return of all major music festivals after the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt on live events throughout the country. And the return holds extra significance for Made in America, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this Labor Day weekend.
Founded in 2012 by Jay-Z, Made in America takes place in Philadelphia each year, welcoming performances by Beyonce, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, the Weeknd, Future, Meek Mill, and more. This year’s festival lineup lives up to that strong legacy, with Lil Baby, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, and Justin Bieber set to headline this Sept. 4 and 5.
While Made in America has been a platform for some of the biggest acts in hip-hop, Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez tells Complex that the festival has always aimed to be a melting pot of musical genres. “Our vision was to see this place with all kinds of people, all kinds of music, and to come and celebrate together without barriers,” she says.
Made in America isn’t just about music. The festival prioritizes philanthropy through Cause Village, which highlights more than 50 local and national organizations that focus on issues like social justice, children’s causes, and terminal illnesses. This year, the festival will benefit its local partner, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Philadelphia, and give a portion of net proceeds to support nonprofit organization The Reform Alliance, which aims to transform judicial laws regarding parole.
As it transitions into its second decade, Made in America continues. Perez says they hope to expand to other major cities like Detroit and Washington, DC in the future. And through its many phases, Perez says Made in America represents an extension of Jay-Z and Roc Nation’s overall vision.
In a rare interview, Perez spoke with Complex about Made in America’s 10th anniversary festival, COVID plans, and future goals. The interview, lightly edited for clarity, is below.